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Athens to Meteora full day tour, we depart from Athens at 06:30am driving through the national road we’ll meet on the way very Picturesque cities like Kamena Vourla. First stop is famous Thermopilae.
There is a modern memorial to King Leonides on one side of the highway that shows the Spartan King on the top of a memorial wall with the words “Molon Lavei” written under the statue. The phrase means, “Come and get it”, This is the phrase that Leonidas said to the Persian king Xerxes when he told Leonidas to hand over his weapons. The phrase has become a slogan of defiance all over the world. Across the highway from the modern memorial is the hill of Kolonos up to the hill there is an ancient memorial that was placed there from Simonides (a greek lyric poet) shortly after the battle. It is a small carved stone plaque that said, “stranger, tell the Spartans that we lay here obedient to their laws”.
After Thermopiles On the way at your own order we can stop for coffee in one of the many points we’ll meet . After four hours driving from Athens we’ll arrive to Meteora in Greek means “middle of the sky” . Meteora one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. In the 9th century AD, an ascetic group of hermit monks moved up to the ancient pinnacles. They were the first people to inhabit Meteora. They lived in hollows and fissures in the rock towers, some of which reach 1800 ft (550m) above the plain. Average elevation is 313 meters (1,027 ft ). The exact date of the establishment of the monasteries is unknown. With the unique phenomenon to have on their top Orthodox monasteries the whole complex of the rocks with the monasteries has been listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.You’ll have the opportunity to visit and admire the most important monasteries such as the Monastery of Great Meteoron, the Monastery of Rousanou, the Monastery of Agia Triada (Holy Triniti) , the Varlaam Monastery, the Monastery of Saint Nikolaos Anapafsa and the Monastery of Saint Stephanos.
Meteora had its peak period in the 16th century,but then the monasteries were slowly abandoned. Today there are six active monasteries left. The fascinating landscape was used when filming the Bond film “For Your Eyes Only”. The hero and the bad guys climb the high “stalagmites” and as a matter of fact, there are many people who still do this through the mountaineering organisations of the area.Every day one of the monastries is closed.We usually visit 3-4 monastries.
After monasteries visiting we return back to Kalabaka for traditional Greek lunch. In the afternoon we take the same way back to Athens.
NOTE: Meteora is part of many multi day tours, which are recommended to those who have more than one day at their disposal.